"If you're concerned about what's going on today, read history and figure out what to do because it's all right there."—Tom Hanks
If you're an artist (or a "shadow artist"), and overwhelmed with life at large right now, I encourage you to think about doing something creative, hands on, mind engaged, right now. Join me online in January. Just put your name on the wait list. No obligato. Space is limited.
As I compose the three new courses I am teaching and developing this year, I'm up to my neck in the history of painting, the lives of individual painters, their particular social and economic situations, patrons, culture, religion and serendipitous changes of fortunes; their contributions, output and influence.
I've spent other years of my life doing much the same thing but rather focused on histories of music, song form and themes, architecture, cities, people, legends, and places and things I've forgotten for the moment.
Looking at ourselves as a species, or even just a civilization, through the lens of being creators, is far more enlightening than our political and military histories. Although, that being said, it is exceptionally instructive how creators have interacted with politics and power down through the ages.
As an artist, I resonate, of course, with the painters and poets and composers of music who have come and worked before me. And now that I'm old (though it doesn't really feel like it!), it's interesting to look back to see what I've done.
Which brings me to my personal funny pages this morning. I was going to take this post in an entirely different direction when my dear, dear, long time, steadfast friend, Carole, forwarded me a blog post featuring napkin art I made in 1982 at the Seagull Bar in Mendocino when that particular block of, I guess it was Kasten Street, had been taken over by the production team for the filming of Stephen King's Cujo.
Anyway, the Volunteer Fire Station (thank you) on Kasten Street was re-dressed for the film (I have photos in storage), and, at the time, I happened to sit down at the bar with a napkin and pen. I remember, distinctly, making this drawing and what fun it was. But I have not seen it in 35 years.
If I had not been reminded with the image, I would have forgotten altogether the expression of this experience. The amazing surprise is that it's survived all these years and has featured as headline image in the original Seagull owner's current blog. What a great delight!
My friend, Carole, recognized the "e" of (the first name only) of my signature and forwarded the image and blog post to me. This is the stuff of history. Personal history. The history of drawing and painting. This history of personal memories.
Looking through the long lens or the personal scrapbook, we learn something ephemeral but vital.
We are who we are. We learn by self examination.
And, of course...
The unexamined life is not worth living.—Socrates